Re:Plane crashes and other accidents

ChuckKuecker (
Wed, 15 Apr 1998 06:53:49 -0500 (CDT)

At 23:47 4/14/98 -0700, you wrote:
>As people's lifespans slowly but surely start to increase, the frequency
>of death from "unnatural causes" will also increase. Eventually, the
>chance of dying in a car accident or plane crash will become quite
>significant. Approximately one in 2 million flights go down. That means
>that if you make only 100 flights in your life, the chance is one in
>20,000 that one of the planes will go down - that's way "better" than
>the lottery. I saw a rather horrifying TV program recently called "Why
>planes go down". Human error is by far the major reason. Anyway, there
>was one crash in which one of the engines blew out, and the pilots had
>to land the plane as best they could. Even though they had 1/2 hour to
>get the plane down, something like 150 people died. A rather obvious
>question is "why do airlines not make parachutes available to
>passengers." Admitedly, there are some incidents where you have _no_
>time to save anybody, but sometimes there _is_ time to bail out. It may
>seem like a naive question, but I would appreciate people's opinions.

If the parachutes could be made sufficiently automatic so as to require NO
user interaction, and the aircraft could be equipped with a door openable in
the air (old 727's come to mind, and DC-8's?) this could become a reality.
If the airlines see the same public relations benefit to this that they see
in putting defibrillators on board, they might do it without governmental

Some major problems occur to me - as an engineer, I always see problems with
things like this, but that starts me thinking of solutions...

The biggest problem I see is how do you control landing? Coming down in an
urban area, on power lines, in water, etc...

Personally, I wish I did have access to a 'chute when I fly. Trusting my
safety to a machine of unknown maintainance history, operated by persons of
whom I have no knowledge of their abilities and mindset, always makes me
quite nervous..

Chuck Kuecker